Lead with Transparency: For nearly the last two decades, Dr. Magdi El Shahawy has been with the USC athletic department. And although he’s been a valuable asset during his entire tenure, El Shahawy has a new-found understanding of what it takes to be a great leader.
“You have to be dynamic, ever-evolving, constantly reinventing yourself. Being a good leader means learning to adjust with the times. I think when I first started working in the profession, I had some preconceived notions of leadership. I really didn’t understand the value of including those that report to me when making decisions, particularly when it came to staff responsibilities and how we structured things. I saw leadership back in the early days as strictly vertical.”
But El Shahawy now understands the value of leading with transparency. “I’ve learned, over time, that leadership is often more horizontal. You have to be a lot more inclusive, a lot more transparent. You have to include a lot more people in decisions before you make them final.”
El Shahawy takes it further, though. He makes it known to his staff and colleagues that he cares about them. He’s mindful of how they feel and their involvement in decision making. He invests in their career development efforts and is genuinely interested in their job satisfaction, “I want everyone to feel valued and free to express their thoughts.”
Inclusion and transparency seem to be the key to victory because El Shahawy and his team keep achieving. Students athletes are making improvements year after year in academics, while the various sports teams have seen their own success. The community is positively impacted by all these efforts and El Shahawy is at that helm of many of them.
As a man who aims to “listen twice as much as he talks,” El Shahawy manages to assume leadership roles in a variety of capacities. Whether it’s growing or supporting his own staff, serving the 600 student-athletes on campus, or managing one of the many programmatic offerings available, El Shahawy gives of himself with humility. It’s through his unique style of servant leadership that he masters all the responsibilities that come his way.
Dr. El Shahawy graduated from Florida State University where he was a varsity letterman on the football team and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Political Science along with a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Athletic Administration. So, a master, he is…quite literally. He’s also a perfect candidate for NEXT UP recognition. We’re excited to celebrate leaders like Dr. Magdi El Shahawy for leading the way in their own way.